Health authorities are concerned about a rise in
the rate of HIV infections among Indigenous Australians.
at an AIDS conference in Cairns have heard there were 23 new cases
of HIV in 2002, almost double the previous year's total of 12.
of transmission have also changed with heterosexual, not homosexual
transmission the dominant form.
The chairwoman of the Indigenous
Australian's Sexual Health Committee, Professor Cindy Shannon, says
preventative strategies must focus on women.
"We've got to engage
with the stakeholder groups, who are going to do what we need to
do with Indigenous women, with injecting drug users," she
"We also need to engage the issue of Indigenous
people in prisons."
Meanwhile, as many as 2 million people living
with HIV/AIDS may benefit from a deal agreed to by drug companies
to bring down the cost of anti-retroviral drugs.
Four generic drug
companies in South Africa and India have promised to make the drugs
available at about half the current price to people in Africa and
The deal was brokered by former US president Bill
"Our goal is to treat up to 2 million people
who do not have access to the anti-retrovirals today over the next
five years," he said.
"And of course, that will include many women
whose children can be protected from HIV if they are treated while